Diet vs. Eating Healthy as a Way of Life

There are so many diet myths and the entire diet industry is one huge money making machine. There are so many people who have the answer or assume they have the answer. Gimmick after gimmick, pills, juicing, you name it. I can tell you exactly how to lose weight and save you a ton of money…ready? Eat less and work out more. There you have it. Now if you follow that advice, chances are you will reach some weight loss milestones and it costs you nothing but some time and determination. Not to mention, it probably is far healthier than anything you would pay for.

So why am I telling you this being there will be so many people who say do it their way? They all have the answers…or is it they want to make some money? Well, what I am about to tell you I can speak from my last 21-days in which I did a fast. Not for weight loss reasons but for spiritual reasons.

For 21-days I did not eat any meat, chicken, fish, dairy. I only ate fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Surprised I lost weight? Now before I go any farther let me just say, that going cold turkey was very hard and millions of people have tried it and failed. I think if one were to try a fast like I did, it would be wise to take a few weeks and ease into it. I actually started mine almost 3-weaks prior only giving up red meat, potatoes, bread, pasta, alcohol and pizza. And if you are wondering why, it was for Lent. The last 21-days of Lent, in which I did a 21-day prayer and fast called The Daniel Fast and my body had already been somewhat prepared.

Here is what my experience was like. Read that sentence again, ‘my’ experience not yours or anyone else’s but ‘my’ experience. The first 3-4 days were extremely difficult. Around the 5 or 6th day, my body had adjusted to this type of eating and I started to see a huge difference in my ability to focus, my energy level was very high (keep in mind I did not fast coffee) and I had never felt as if I were starving. Now why is that? Again, I am not a diet or health guru and I have lost weight before but through eating healthy and a lot of physical exercise. But for 21-days I never lifted a weight, I never went to the gym, I only walked my dog but actually had more energy to do it. I am not saying this was the healthiest way to lose weight, but then again, it was not my goal.

So what did I learn from all this, food and ‘my’ body. Well, for starters. I realized just how much I love the things I gave up. I also realized that eating fresh vegetables and whole grains is a detox. My body slowly adjusted and all the bad things in which I had previously filled my body with were now being removed. In 21-days I lost 18lbs. Again, not my purpose of my fast. But it became very evident that the foods I, and maybe some of you, fill your body with, are like being on drugs. Ever eat a piece of chocolate and then end up eating the whole candy bar? I had no cravings…none whatsoever. I even made a Tuscan bean soup but used a homemade vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. While it was not nearly as flavorful, I ate less because I became full faster. My body just lost the cravings. I can only believe that anything coming from an animal is harder to digest and reading what is in it requires you to be a chemist to understand it.

As far as my culinary skills, well, being I love to eat and I love to cook, it forced me to be more creative, to bring out the essence of foods and flavors I was accustomed too and incorporate more fresh herbs to add flavor. As a food lover, and enjoying a wide variety of ethnic foods, I was certainly missing the textures and flavors and I do not care about what anyone says about tofu, there is not a chance I will ever enjoy it. As a matter of fact, there is not even a chance it will get in arms length of me. It’s like meatloaf, no matter what anyone says that his or her mothers or he or she make it so great and is totally different. Meatloaf of any variety is not for me. So if you like tofu, good for you, you can have my meatloaf too.

Now, I will say that eating healthier foods certainly has proven to me that it can change the way you feel, mentally and emotionally. The ability to focus was extremely evident.

So am I changing the way I eat? Hmmm, yes and no! There are far too many good things that God has put here for me to partake in. But I certainly do see the health benefits of eating this way. But eating only healthy foods does not make you healthy. There has to be some physical exercise ‘I’ believe in order to be healthy. Diet alone will not do it. Losing weight and being thin does not make you healthy.

So why am I telling you this? Well, I think that if someone is seriously trying to lose weight, they need to try this and be extremely mentally prepared to do it. I think that a detox of all the foods that we are consuming, in which most of us are not fully aware of what we are really eating, is making us eat more and be less productive. I also believe that some sort of physical cardio exercise is imperative for your health, not just eating better. It would probably be wise to consult a physician before doing such a fast.

What I have decided to do (for me) was not to let go of the foods I love, but to incorporate more of the eating style in which I had eaten during my fast and the foods in which I love which are not always the most healthy, I will eat far less and look at it as a treat and not an every day food source. In other words, everything in moderation.

I think if anyone seriously wants to lose weight the key is to ease into it. Going on a crash diet requires serious discipline and most people fail. It really is not a diet it is a way of eating that has to become a way of life in order to maintain it. I never did mine to lose weight, so mentally I was in a different place. Because I believe when you do it for the sole purpose of losing weight you put far too much pressure on yourself if the results are not immediate. And so if you just give up a few things for a few weeks and gradually do a fast of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, along with some physical exercise, you will see results. Then just ease back into eating other foods but incorporate more of the fruits, fresh vegetables and whole grains.

There you have it. And remember before you say do it this way or that way or my way doesn’t work. I did it, I lived it and it worked for me. You have to find what works for you and this has worked for me.

And as my friend said, perhaps your focus on God and the connection you had with Him during your 21-days, was that He was behind it all. There is some food for thought!








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  1. Anna says:

    What a interesting insight to your experience, thank you :) A

    1. MJ says:

      It was really a great experience Anna. I discovered a lot about my body and the way I felt mentally as well as physically after eating this way. Certainly not a diet but a way of life that can be incorporated into my life. Thanks for reading it.

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